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Spontaneous trip to Ireland

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My daughter lives in Israel. She asked me if I could meet her in Ireland next month. I do not have a lot of money and cannot believe I am even considering this trip. Can anyone tell me how to plan a very low budget trip to Ireland. Is it possible to stay for a few days (including air fare) spend $2500 or less ? If so does anyone know of nice, safe reasonable B&B's they would recommend? Inexpensive places to eat ? and Inexpensive ways to stretch my limited budget? I know very little about Ireland but have always wanted to go ! Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated ! If my budget is way too low let me know and I will wait until I can afford to go the right way.

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    When you think of Ireland, what do you think of? Pubs and nightlife in Dublin, or green fields and coastal scenery like in the southwest, or...? Knowing what part of the country will be a big help.

    B&Bs in Ireland aren't terribly expensive. As an example, the b&b we stayed in in Dingle, Emlagh Lodge, is €35 per person per night. For you and your daughter, a twin room would be €70, or about $100 ($50 each). Assuming airfare is about $900 (a rough guess based on looking at round trips from my city to Shannon), car rental if you visit most places outside Dublin (rough guess about $700 for the week), and $50-75/night lodging...

    900 + 350 + 60*7 = $1670, which leaves a little under a thousand for food, souvenirs, entrances, etc. You'll have to check my numbers for your situation (that rental car estimate is based on my memory of my trip several years ago), but that's totally doable if you ask me. And I'm a big believer in taking opportunities! Life is short, you know?

    For specific b&bs, you'll have to figure out where exactly you want to go and how long exactly you have. There are tons of trip reports here to get you started - if you click on my name and scroll back, you'll find one from 2007, but there are more recent ones.

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    April isn't bad price wise provided you miss Easter (late this year) as said B&B's run at €60 or 70 for a double/Twin room.. Pub Grub is top notch as a rule so a full breakfast, lunch time snack and an evening pub meal will sort out your day.. of course the price of that pub meal might depend where you are,, Dublin prices can shame the devil and some overhyped tourist places try hard to match.

    Public transport and local tours from places like Dublin, Galway and Killarney negate the need for a hire car unless you plan to get a little off piste.

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    Getting around can be pretty inexpensive.

    Walk-up fares for Bus Eireann's intercity routes often cost just roundabout 10-15 euros between Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick.
    On several routes, competing bus companies offer lower fares down to 1 euro if you book in advance (and should have the luck to find availablity of such super-low fare).

    Also Irish Rail has heavily discounted fares if you buy in advance and can commit yourself on a certain time/train.

    So, the sooner you come up with your itinerary, the more you can safe if you can lock in to certain dates and times.

    For local mobility, you have city buses in the larger conurbations.
    And when in the countryside, it can be fun to explore the area by bike (maybe your B&Bs already have them for their guests). You'll be amazed how many sights and little wonders you can find in a 10km radius around a small Irish town or a village. Many rural communities and counties have sign-posted bike routes following small byways.


    Sightseeing can be inexpensive.

    Dublin's finest museums are for free.
    The National History Museum is awesome. The National Gallery is almost next door and also really nice.

    The national historic treasures are usually in the domain of the OPW. The entrance fees are mostly very moderate or nominal (often €3 pP).
    www.heritageireland.ie

    Many villages have local sights/sites that are completely for free. You find ring forts, parks, abbey ruins, castles and keeps that are just there, without a fence or a ticket booth.

    If a site is run privately, i.e. a cave, a castle, etc., they often charge much higher entrance fees.


    Eating out can be inexpensive.

    As Tony explained, a pub is not by definition a cheap eatery. In many touristy regions, the costs for a pub dinner are at least same as at any restaurant. Same with beer: the pint can come for €3.50 to more than €5. When you stay at B&Bs, your hosts will probably have a good knowledge where the not so pricey places are hidden.
    For mid-day lunch, almost every supermarket I know, even smaller ones in god-forsaken villages, make you fresh sandwiches or have a soup or coffee and pastries.
    There are also "bistro-type" chains like O'Briens where you don't need a fat wallet. And there is always Supermac's :-)

    Wine & Dine is usually somewhat expensive. Especially the wine. But there is no reason not to get a bottle from your supermarket (they often stay open till late) and the not-to-be-missed Irish (farmhouse) cheese for an after-dinner "party" at your B&B.
    If you want to splurge on one dinner, look for a place with really good Irish beef. The good steaks from Ireland are the best in the world.


    If you do not race around the island with just one night in each location but stayed longer in one place you might even be able to negotiate a discount (for more than 3 nights, I'd say).


    But aside for the costs of accomodation, food and transport you do not need any money to fall in love with Ireland.

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